New publication: How South African Parties Do Not Politicize Immigration in Their Manifestos

I am happy to announce a new publication on how South African parties do not politicize immigration in their electoral manifestos, despite many indications that we can expect them to do so. In a country where xenophobia appears widespread, we can expect political parties to politicize immigration and take positions against immigrants.

In this paper, I wanted to do two things. On a methodological side, I wanted to know whether the approaches to coding electoral manifestos we have developed in the context of European parties works elsewhere. I have applied them to the US context, but South Africa would provide a tougher test. The keyword tests worked fine, and the qualitative discussions with colleagues were encouraging to press on. On a substantive side, I wanted to know whether South African parties as parties drive politicization, or whether individual politicians do so. The systematic analysis of the electoral manifestos reveals that parties as organizations do not politicize much against immigrants and immigration. In this sense, we cannot find evidence for this supposedly perverse upshot of the post-apartheid nation-building project where parties would politicize against immigrants to bolster internal cohesion: not parties as formal organizations. From other research and the media we know, though, that individual politicians certainly play a role in politicizing immigration in South Africa.

Ruedin, Didier. 2019. ‘South African Parties Hardly Politicise Immigration in Their Electoral Manifestos’. Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies 46 (1).

Ruedin, Didier. 2019. ‘Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa: Personality and Vulnerability’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 45 (7): 1108–26.

Ruedin, Didier, and Laura Morales. 2018. ‘Estimating Party Positions on Immigration: Assessing the Reliability and Validity of Different Methods’. Party Politics OnlineFirst.

1 RESEARCH ASSISTANT (15h/week, until 31 July 2019)

In the context of the NCCR ‘on the move’ ( we are looking for 1 research assistant to support research on the politicization of immigration in newspapers. We are now looking for one conscientious and reliable research assistant. You should be matriculated at the University of Neuchâtel, and will be expected to work relatively independently. You will search newspapers article in databases and code the contents of these articles following instructions. We offer somewhat flexible working hours (15h a week) and the ability to carry out some of the work from home. You will also be able to gain some insights in cutting-edge social science research. The position starts as soon as possible.

Guest Blog at Media Portrayals of Minorities Project

I am happy to announce a guest blog of mine over at the Media Portrayals of Minorities Project.

The blog post draws heavily on the SOM book and my paper in the Austrian Journal of Political Science. If that’s all old news, you should just check out the other posts from the project! If you’re interested in the role of left-wing parties in politicizing immigration, we’ve got you covered, too.

Carvalho, João, and Didier Ruedin. 2018. ‘The Positions Mainstream Left Parties Adopt on Immigration: A Crosscutting Cleavage?’ Party Politics.
Ruedin, Didier. 2017. ‘Citizenship Regimes and the Politicization of Immigrant Groups’. Austrian Journal of Political Sciences 46 (1): 7–19.
Van der Brug, Wouter, Gianni D’Amato, Joost Berkhout, and Didier Ruedin, eds. 2015. The Politicisation of Migration. Abingdon: Routledge.

New paper: how left-wing parties politicize immigration

I’m happy to announce another paper coming out of the SOM (Support and Opposition to Migration) kitchen. João Carvalho and I have examined the way left-wing parties politicize immigration in 7 Western European countries. Most of the literature focuses on the right, and especially the extreme right. The same changes that supposedly enable the success of the extreme right also affect parties on the left. We often see the claim that immigration has become a political dimension that cuts across (economic) left and right.

We use the political claims analysis from the SOM project (7 countries, 1995 to 2009) to examine the salience, position and overall coherence of claims mainstream parties make on immigration. We distinguish between immigration control (not letting in immigrants) and immigrant integration (how to deal with those already here). Left-wing parties come with more positive/expansive positions on immigration. Drawing on the claims analysis, we find no evidence that immigration would be a cross-cutting cleavage in the 7 countries examined. We also find that left-wing parties exhibit higher levels of coherence than centrist and right-wing parties, suggesting that they use old-fashioned left-wing ideology to deal with the potential cross-pressures around immigration.

(I’ve never hidden my regression models so well than in this paper. Table junkies find them in the online supplement.)

In a lucky coincidence, I have come across a paper by Tarik Abou-Chadi and Werner Krause taking a quite different approach to the same topic. They use differences in electoral threshold and treat those as exogenous shocks to make causal claims about how the success of the extreme right affects the party positions of other parties. You don’t need to buy into the causal claims to be excited about this analysis!

Abou-Chadi, Tarik, and Werner Krause. 2018. ‘The Causal Effect of Radical Right Success on Mainstream Parties’ Policy Positions: A Regression Discontinuity Approach’. British Journal of Political Science, June, 1–19.

Carvalho, João, and Didier Ruedin. 2018. ‘The Positions Mainstream Left Parties Adopt on Immigration: A Crosscutting Cleavage?’ Party Politics.